Travel Journal - From the Brazilian tropics

Part of being able to produce awesome coffees comes from the close relationships we have with our farming partners. You can taste their care and attentive work in each cup we serve.

Our baristas Yuko and Jake visited the beautiful producing regions of Minas Gerais and São Paulo in Brazil. Spending time with our partners Fazenda Um, Sitio Canaa, Fazenda da Mata and Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza - or: FAF. To get to know in loco how their coffee is being produced and processed. They also spent a weekend working and sharing experiences with baristas at Boram Um´s award winning concept: Um Coffee, São Paulo.

Our Yuko is originally from Japan and worked as Headbarista at London´s “Timberyard Coffee" before joining our company. She was also New York´s Coffee Master in 2016. Yuko says: "The trip to Brazil was absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was impressed by visiting the farms and seeing how our partners grow coffee, how much effort they put in each process, and how they are experimenting new ideas to get their coffee quality to a next level. As a barista, I'm doing something completely different, but it is amazing to see that everyone is connected and working hard to create a delicious cup of coffee. Brazil has so much potential to produce higher quality coffee and I can’t wait to brew and taste more!”.

Jake is leadbarista at our Roastery Café and also looks after gearing all our equipment at THE BARN. He comes with a wealth of coffee experience from his homeland which is New Zealand. “I learned so many things on this trip. Not only was it a fantastic opportunity to meet the producers behind our coffee, but also to better understand the thought and care that goes into the agricultural aspect of our industry. I was blown away by the knowledge and attention to detail from our Brazilian partners, and also by how humble and welcoming they all were to us!".

 

Fazenda Um

Fazenda Um is located on the beautiful Mantiqueira region, Minas Gerais, one of the world’s most well-known regions for specialty coffee. Stephano Um started cultivating specialty coffees in 2012 and grows many different varietals. THE BARN took the first harvest of Fazenda Um two years ago and manifested a strong relationship since then. We will hear many great things about Fazenda Um and we are happy to be part of that journey.

 

This is Stefano Um, who runs Fazenda Um. He drove all the way from São Paulo to his farm to meet us.  

 

 

We had a horse ride through Mundo Nuovo and Yellow Bourbon varietals, which we roast at THE BARN!
  

 

That’s the lake “Barragem”. The higher steep is where our Yellow Bourbon, our Mundo Novo, and the Catuaí are grown. Especially Yellow Bourbon is sensitive and more difficult to grow so it needs to sit at a higher altitude. They have 120.000 trees of Mundo Novo here.

 

These are the raised beds at Fazenda Um. Farmers work tirelessly to sort out the unripened cherries before the coffee is moved to the next phase of drying. This is just one varietal (of around 20 grown on Fazenda Um), Mundo Novo, which will one day become our milk espresso.

 

17 different varietals are on the patio. They dry cherries moisture content to 16% on raised beds; after they move them on the patio and dry to 11%. The cherries are piled mountain style (“volcanos”) to protect cherries from the fog.

 

Stefano Um took us for a ride in the back of his truck through his coffee plantation and he told us about a discovery he made that occurs as the trees mature. He notices three distinct forms of ripe cherries: The first is what we typically think of when we think of a ripe coffee cherry, the second is slightly shrivelled, which he calls ‘raisins’ and according to him have the best flavour and the most sweetness, and the last is the ‘bóias’ which are of the lowest quality. Since making this discovery, he sorts and processes these cherries separately, meaning that from a single tree he is getting three distinct flavour profiles and qualities of coffee.

 

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza - FAF

FAF is supporting more than 70 producers that changed from conventional to specialty coffee farming. FAF experiments with fermentation, processing, and yeast are leading the way to elevate quality in Brazil. Staying together as a community of quality growers is largely driven by FAFs support and sharing of knowledge.

 

 

Arriving at FAF we met Felipe, Marcos, and Silvia Croce and took a first look at their operations, experiments, and lab. We visited Ivan dos Santos farm - one of the highlight coffees that we just finished roasting in Berlin. They were hand sorting cherries when we arrived.

 

This is yellow Obata varietal from Ivan dos Santos and Rose.

 

We met Ivan’s brother João Hamilton dos Santos and visited his farm as well. He brewed a Sumatran coffee that we tasted on the top of big rocks at a beautiful sunset.

 

We had a cupping with Felipe and Simone tasting different varietals from FAF.

 

Mr. Adonis, who owns Fazenda da Mata, is in his 70’s and still working hard. He is always open to new ideas and suggestions that help him improve the quality of his coffee. We have recently used beans from Fazenda da Mata on our bar as milk espresso.

 

Here we have a ‘male’ coffee tree. These are extremely rare and produce a very low yield.

 

From the farm to the cup: Um Coffee and co.

Yuko and Jake spent their last weekend in São Paulo working at Um Coffee and Co. Stephano's (Fazenda Um) son Boram together with his brother Goran opened the coffee shop in 2015, where they roast the coffee they serve and also offer workshops. Um Coffee and Co. was elected the Best Coffeeshop in Brazil in 2017.

 

 

At Um Coffee, we tasted some nice coffees and exchanged skills with very passionate baristas.

 

Jake shows a little trick on milk steaming.

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